Migration and Movement
Our current Lent study group is working through material looking at issues regarding migration and movement, a key issue that dominates our news. The migration and movement of peoples is not a new phenomena, and is often a necessary and unavoidable feature of globalisation and the evolving of a global economy. It is a fact of life that to move with your job could take you almost anywhere in the world, and with the relaxing of employment laws, it possible for large numbers of foreign nationals to work in any European country.
However, we all know that conflict and poverty also generates a desperate need in people to be on the move in order to escape and find a safer and better place to live. The sight of people fleeing the Syria and Iraq for fear of their lives, and making the hazardous land and sea journey towards Europe, is heart-breaking, and is a reminder as to how dangerous and fragile the world can be. It is very easy to get bogged down in the politics of it all, and the whole situation is very complex, yet the response that Christ calls us to make is in one sense very simple:
34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,[a] you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:34-40 (NRSV).
Here lies the biblical mandate that should motivate us to help all whoever they are at their point of need. Jesus makes no distinction about anyone’s ethnicity, religious belief, class, culture etc. In serving and helping our fellow human beings, we are serving Christ himself, who identified with the poor, and who shares in all human suffering. Whatever our views on migration, whatever our political stance, the unifying call from Christ is to help the poor and needy, whoever they are and wherever they may be.